Inflammation is often considered unhealthy, but it’s actually an important immune response. Read more about healthy vs. unhealthy inflammation here.
Inflammation is linked to a number of chronic issues, including heart problems, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes. Luckily, there are many ways to reduce the inflammation in your body and help improve your overall health.
This guide reviews what inflammation is, the differences between acute and chronic inflammation, the complications of chronic inflammation, and how you can naturally reduce inflammation in your body.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is an immune response to a trigger, like an injury or a perceived disease-causing invader. This cascade of reactions sends a rush of white blood cells to the affected area to help heal the body and neutralize the threat. Inflammation can be acute or chronic.
Acute, or short-term, inflammation is a normal and healthy response to illness or injury. This process is a vital part of the immune response to keep you healthy after pathogen exposure or to help you heal after you get sick.
In healthy individuals, inflammation dissipates quickly once the threat, or pathogen, is neutralized. However, some environmental and lifestyle triggers can cause this inflammation to become chronic, which poses a host of health issues.
Chronic inflammation is long-term, nagging inflammation that does not go away after the immune threat has been cleared. This type of inflammation is linked to conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Chronic inflammation also increases your risk of developing an autoimmune condition. In autoimmunity, your immune system launches an immune response against your own healthy cells. Examples of autoimmune conditions include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation
Depending on the individual, chronic inflammation can have different signs and symptoms. Some of these potential symptoms include:
- Chronic pain
- Depression or anxiety
- Weight and appetite changes
- Frequent illness
- Constipation or diarrhea
- High blood sugar levels
If you want to know for sure if you’re experiencing chronic inflammation, your doctor can run lab tests to check for elevated levels of inflammatory markers in your blood.
How to naturally reduce inflammation
Chronic inflammation is heavily triggered by environmental and lifestyle factors. Therefore, there are several changes you can make to improve chronic inflammation in your body. Some examples of changes you can make include:
- Eat less sugar. Added sugars, like those found in soda and processed foods, are highly inflammatory and have been linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, powerful plant compounds that may help to fight inflammation and prevent cellular damage.
- Eat more omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon and chia seeds, are sorely lacking in most people’s diets. Eating more of these foods can help decrease inflammation.
- Exercise regularly. Regular light or moderate exercise is a great way to improve your immune health and regulate the inflammatory response.
- Get adequate sleep. Sleep is vital for proper healing and recovery, so aim for at least seven uninterrupted hours per night to help reduce chronic inflammation.
- Manage stress. Finally, mental or psychological stress can be a huge trigger for inflammation due to the hormonal changes it brings about. Try to remove or reduce stressors in your life.
You can also seek the support of some targeted health supplements. Ingredients like green tea extract may help soothe chronic inflammation—check out Medlixr’s Candida Balance and get your body back on track.